Local BMX star Brett Banasiewicz suffered a major injury Thursday in Virginia while practicing for a contest.
Banasiewicz was put in a medically-induced coma to allow his brain to heal from the injury, according to his teacher and mentor Brian Ginzer.
"From what I understand, Brett is going to end up having a little time off from his career with the fall," Ginzer said.
Ginzer said he could feel the worry among many people at Washington High School, where Banasiewicz is currently a senior.
"Coming into work -- it was kind of a somber mood here," Ginzer said. "A lot of the kids, administration and faculty at Washington care for Brett. He needs to know we are here for him and we are going to help him when he gets back."
The incident occurred when Banasiewicz was practicing a 720 turn. He fell eight feet onto his head. His family says the helmet he was wearing saved his life.
"It is a gamble in the air," said close friend Jordan Bowed. "He just overrode it. And, unfortunately, he went down and went down hard."
Both of Banasiewicz's parents are now in Virginia by the teen's side as he recovers at a local hospital. Brain scans appear to be normal and he is responding to the voice of loved ones.
The Facebook page for Banasiewicz’s South Bend skate park, “The Kitchen,” has been updating his fans about his progress. Each post is met with dozens of comments sharing words of support.
Here is the latest post: "The doctors & nurses were examining Brett all night & he didn't get much rest. We are going to let him rest all day today. We are praying that he opens his eyes today. He did turn his head when he heard Bill's voice. Brett has a feeding tube so he is getting his nutrients. They did do another cat scan & we are waiting for the radiologist to read it. It is going to be a very, very long weekend, but the best thing we can do for Brett is let his brain heal & rest. Prayers are working & very appreciated. Thank you."
Banasiewicz is coming off his first-ever win in BMX Park at the Dew Tour this past weekend in Ocean City, Md. That added to his previous three victories in BMX Dirt.